With very light jets (VLJs) expected to enter service by this time next year, turboprop singles are now meeting the contender face-to-face in the marketplace. It was bound to happen, given that the two different classes of airplane have similar range capabilities, cabin volume and acquisition costs.
Eclipse Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M., increased the price of its Eclipse 500 very light twinjet to $1.295 million (in 2000 dollars), a jump of $120,000 over the previous tag. The new price is still less than that of any of the other very light twinjets under development.
The first public flight exhibition for the Eclipse 500 very light jet is planned on July 27 during the annual EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., from July 25 to 31. “We think Oshkosh is the perfect showcase, because of its huge audience and reputation for fostering innovations,” said Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn.
Embraer, which has sustained a presence in the business aviation market with the Legacy, a corporate version of its ERJ 135 regional jet, last month announced two clean-sheet additions to its business jet portfolio–a light jet and a very light jet (VLJ).
Former Raytheon Aircraft v-p of operations Paul Schumacher has joined Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque, N.M., as v-p of manufacturing. He will lead the primary assembly team for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet, which Eclipse said at press time would receive full type certification “shortly.” Meanwhile, its powerplant, the P&WC PW610F, received FAA certification on August 23.
Eclipse Aviation selected Opinicus of Clearwater, Fla., to be the exclusive supplier of flight-training devices and simulators for the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ). The first Eclipse 500 simulator is scheduled to be delivered to Eclipse training partner United Airlines Flight Training Center in Denver early next year, coinciding with the expected FAA certification of the VLJ.
Eclipse Aviation’s fourth conforming Eclipse 500–and the first of its two beta-test jets–joined the flight-test fleet last month. As the company’s certification program advances, the two beta-test aircraft will be tested under accelerated usage conditions to ensure reliability and functionality before first customer deliveries next spring.
If giant airshows such as Paris, Farnborough, Asian Aerospace and Dubai–even NBAA– represent business aviation’s economic engine, then EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., (July 25 to July 31) measures the pulse of flying’s human side.
Halon fire-extinguishing agents have been used for many years to protect valuable electronics, oil and gas production facilities, military systems, aircraft and other critical operations. The Army Corps of Engineers developed Halon (short for halogenated hydrocarbons) in 1948 as a less toxic but highly effective alternative to methyl bromide.
With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane became the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year. Prices for a one-quarter share of the Eclipse 500 start at $349,900, with a monthly fixed cost of $3,500 and hourly operating costs of $369, without a pilot.